Small-scale Miners Halt Pescadero-Ituango Hydroelectric Project Because of Lack of Water for Their Families

Published:  November 22, 2011 | Author:  Notiagen | 
Archived in:  Alimentacion Ambiente y Territorio, Medellin/Antioquia, Movilizacion Social, Noticias, Trabajo |
[Translated by Susan Tritten, a CSN volunteer translator. Edited by Teresa Welsh, a CSN volunteer editor.]
For the last two weeks the Asociacion de Pequenos Mineros Afectados por el Proyecto Hidroituango  (ASOMITUANGO) [The Association of Small-scale Miners Affected by the Ituango Hydroelectric Project] has paralyzed work on the Pescadero-Ituango hydroelectric project in the municipality of Briceno (Antioquia).  The miners gathered now in the Icura [Plan] area state that they are tired of the repeated abuses committed by the companies contracted by the Empresas Publicas de Medellin (EPM) [Public Utility Companies of Medellin].  On November 6, they decided not to permit the continuation of construction on the road connecting Medellin to Ituango at about kilometers 4.9.
ASOMITUANGO points out that during the construction of this road the right to water and a healthy environment, and the safety of the people who work in the lower part of the road construction area have been violated.  They also state that through acts of the Pescadero I Consortium, the company constructing the road has promised several times to protect the waters that flow through the area as well as to protect the people in the lower areas from the effects of landslides that the company causes.  ASOMITUANGO accuses them of not fulfilling their responsibility:  “The construction has not only made the water unfit for human consumption by turning it into mud, but they have also dried up the streams; and in other places the workers throw their garbage, urinate, and bathe in the streams without considering that this is the water supply for the community.”
ASOMITUANGO declares that in spite of their fear of escalating armed conflict in the area and of threats from members of VISE, the company in charge of security for the project, the mining community is determined to remain in the area until EPM directly, not through its contractors, provides a solution to the problems.
Roundtable for Defense of the Territory
On November 10, 2011, in Ituango, individuals, associations and communities from this area established the Roundtable for Defense of the Territory with the goal of publicizing everything that is happening in the region and of opening possibilities of dialog with various government and private players.  This becomes the voice of the communities affected by the construction of the hydroelectric project and declares that its main impact in the area are the aggravation of armed conflict; the loss of agricultural business and land; change in the natural landscape; the loss of roads and bridges that maintain lines of communication and commerce between the local communities and the deterioration of the local economy, the loss of rural and urban jobs; an increase in prostitution, drug addiction and alcoholism;  an increase in single mothers and unwanted pregnancies; an increase in sexually transmitted diseases; and an increase in violence and discrimination against women.
More information:
More than four thousand people demonstrate in Ituango condemning the impact of the Ituango hydroelectric project
(This translation may be reprinted as long as the content remains unaltered, and the source, author, and translator are cited.)

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